Despite my extreme distaste for Forgive and Remember: Managing Medical Failure, I thought Bosk’s discussion about the “Varieties of Normal Action” and the accompanying grid of expectations and outcomes (pg. 116-120) to be were interesting and worth more detail, particularly Cell 4, expected failure. Here, doctors face the difficult situation of knowing that medical intervention will most likely be unsuccessful, but needing to care for their patients in the most ethical and humane way possible. I stumbled across this New York Times article from 1990 that touches on the same idea: http://www.nytimes.com/1990/05/15/science/the-doctor-s-world-despite-many-shifts-oath-as-old-as-apollo-endures-in-medicine.html?src=pm. In a nutshell, the Hippocratic oath, a list of axioms repeated by new doctors that essentially mean they will do no harm, has been phased out in the medical school setting and there’s a question of the validity of its origins. According to the article, it’s quite possible the Hippocratic oath (and accordingly, medical ethics) are not studied in medical school at all, which is detrimental to patients, and that the oath has paternalistic roots that don’t honor a patient’s wishes and hold the doctor above all others. It’s an interesting read, and encompasses bits of our discussions about How Doctors Think, medical ethics and our current reading.